In a just published study, scientists have found that sea turtles have evolved to use their flippers like hands in foraging and consuming prey. The scientists even observed instances where sea turtles “karate chopped” their prey. The findings are suprising as scientists long believed the brains of sea turtles were too small to learn tasks such as using their flippers for manipulating prey in addition to locomotion.
Science director Dr. Kyle Van Houtan of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) had this to say about the conclusions:
“We expect these things to happen with a highly intelligent, adaptive social animal. With sea turtles, it’s different. They never meet their parents; they’re never trained to forage by their mom. It’s amazing that they’re figuring out how to do this without any apprenticing, and with flippers that aren’t well adapted for these tasks.”
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